Young children kissing each other - what's appropriate?

(36 Posts)
WellitsAllGoneNow Fri 02-May-14 19:57:51

Do you think it's ok for a 5 yo boy and girl to kiss each other? And to talk about who they are in love with and who they are going to marry?

I see this as fairly innocent (although I don't much like it when adults join in or encourage the talk with "But I thought you were going to marry so and so" kind of comments).

But my DH doesn't like it at all and thinks they shouldn't be kissing. He was brought up in an environment where children were emulating adult sexual behaviours (with each other) from a very early age and he didn't realise how inappropriate this was until he was grown up. He wants to protect our DC from the same.

It's causing a rift.

MrsMaturin Fri 02-May-14 20:00:47

Was your dh bought up in an abusive home? He might benefit from some formal counselling in that case.

otherwise I would suggest a conversation with your child's teacher about what they, from their professional standpoint, consider appropriate. I suspect they will agree with you (i certainly do) and he may benefit from hearing a third party point of view.

Smartiepants79 Fri 02-May-14 20:04:27

If your DH has such strong feelings (for good reasons) I would try and support him.
Maybe not making a massive deal about it as that may make it all the more appealing to a 5 yr old! But quiet discouragement absolutely no encouragement.
BUT I also think your DH needs to try and see that there is a difference between a simple kiss and what he has experienced.
My PIL talk about 'boyfriends' with my 3yr old DD. It really bothers me.
They have years to worry about such things.

MrsKCastle Fri 02-May-14 20:24:20

DD1 is also 5 and has an understanding with her male best friend- they both take it very much for granted that they will marry each other when they grow up. They have even discussed whether they will have a little boy or girl. However, it is very much at the stage of believing they will do this because that's what grown-ups do. In their (fairly sheltered!) world, you get jobs, get married, have children. I don't see anything wrong with this at all.

I don't know if they kiss though- they certainly hug often, but not sure I've seen them kiss since they were a fair bit younger. I can see why that might seem a little strange.

WellitsAllGoneNow Fri 02-May-14 21:00:34

Smatiepants, I know exactly what you mean about talk of boyfriends being very uncomfortable. That's the kind of adult talk I don't like being imposed on children's friendships, and in that sense I do totally support my DH's views.

The problem is that he has really upset a friend of mine (mother of our DD's 'boy' friend) and it has become a real threat to our friendship.

WellitsAllGoneNow Fri 02-May-14 21:03:50

I don't think he was brought up in an abusive home, but perhaps a slightly neglectful and permissive home where most of the other children were older than him.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:17:52

I'm really unsure on this one too. I have 2.5 yr old DD and most of my friends have boys. She's kissed two of them. I don't want her to be the girl that's kissed all the boys and this was before she was two. It's all well and good my friends saying it's fine when they've got boys.

If it's totally innocent why are girls not encouraged to kiss girls???

Part of me thinks I am over sexualising it and it is only an issue if you make it. Another thinks it's perfectly innocent and like the lion king where they're betrothed etc. another thinks it's not me and they're wrong. A lot of my friends say oh don't you look sexy in your dress etc etc. I hate that!!!!

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:19:25

I think it's also a Huuuuge stretch to ask if he was bought up in an abusive home because he doesn't want his daughter kissing boys yet... hmm

WellitsAllGoneNow Fri 02-May-14 21:24:16

'It's all well and good my friends saying it's fine when they've got boys.'

My DH says almost exactly this. He thinks boys are encouraged to be a certain way with girls or at the very least, their parents are far less concerned about what they might get up to when out of sight of the adults.

peggyundercrackers Fri 02-May-14 21:36:17

I don't really agree with kids hugging/kissing each other, I get a little uncomfortable with it for some reason. I really can't put my finger on it why I get uncomfortable with it but just think there should be boundaries. I wouldn't mind so much if it was between family but not with strangers kids.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:44:33

It's true tho isn't it. It doesn't matter what boys do. The more kisses the merrier but I'm sure I'll spend all her teenage years drumming in to her that she should wait for the right person and it's a special thing and she shouldn't kiss too many people etc. how can I do that when I spent her formative years telling her it's ok to kiss every tom, Richard and Harry? using dick there feels wrong somehow

Does your upset friend have a daughter? If not, just you wait wink

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:45:46

DD won't even eat pasta now hmm

LettertoHerms Fri 02-May-14 21:45:57

Little kids do tend toward this with each other, it's a normal part of development, usually with no regard to gender. The "girlfriend/boyfriend" talk is more worrying to me, as that's learned.

In the preschool classroom, we stress mostly how it's not ok to grab or hug someone else without their permission, and gently discourage kissing in the same way, or "we don't kiss our friends at school", it's also perfectly fine to stress that you only kiss people in your own family, at this age that is appropriate, and they'll draw their own conclusions about kissing when they reach an appropriate age.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:46:26

Ermmmm, wrong thread.

BathroomDrama Fri 02-May-14 21:53:27

Raskova - I've just spent 5 minutes trying to work out the link between kissing and pasta grin

Unless there is any other reason for you to be concerned, children kissing isn't a big deal - it's not like they're kissing like adults.

CalamitouslyWrong Fri 02-May-14 21:54:56

DS2 (4.5) kisses his friends. They're all boys. He made a wee friend in soft play (another boy) the other day and they hugged and kissed to say goodbye. It's just kisses on the cheek.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:59:57

Bathroom drama, tut tut.

Anyone who's anyone knows the link between pasta and kissing wink

MerryMarigold Fri 02-May-14 22:09:34

I'm a bit on the fence with this one. It's not a big deal, but still not really ok. I would quietly discourage it without making a big fuss. My dses (8 and 5) have tried to kiss me before on the lips and moving head (I think they got it from Frozen) and I said that was not for children and mums to kiss like that, but only for when they are big like (teenage friend) and they can do that with their girlfriend. Seemed to be fine with them and they stopped. If it's a kiss on the cheek it's fine, but again, not something special for that person - they can kiss anyone they love on the cheek.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 22:17:44

It's funny you mention that. I kissDD on the lips and think it's ok because she's teeny but when my mum tries to kiss me on the lips I tell her how it's sick and wrong...

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 22:18:47

It's something my mum only started doing in last 5/7 odd years. It's weird as fuck.

Smartiepants79 Fri 02-May-14 22:51:13

I don't mind children hugging each other and a kiss on the cheek.
I do that with my adult friends. They are just that, friends. No one is suggesting I marry them!
It's this aspect that changes the nature of the relationship I feel. I want her to view all her friends in the same way. She is only 3!

QTPie Fri 02-May-14 23:48:03

I am a believer of open love/affection. I am very affectionate with DS (4) - kisses and cuddles - and he is affectionate (to me, daddy, friends (including male), most people) in turn. There is absolutely nothing sexual about it. I think that if you make affection taboo, then that may cause complications later. However there should be boundaries: most importantly you should get someone's consent for any type of affection and there are things that are inappropriate.

There are plenty of open, affectionate adults out there (where there is nothing sexual in that affection).

The whole boyfriend/girlfriend/marriage thing is also innocent, I think. Yes, they are pretending at adult relationships, but isn't that what growing up is about? Just like kids pretend to be doctors or firemen or Spider-Man or teachers or pirates. Learning and developing through make believe. Also learning about relationships (friendships) early on and within a supportive environment (parents around) which can teach them to deal with rejection (since "boyfriends/girlfriends" only last for a few weeks at that age).

Boomerwang Sat 03-May-14 00:17:45

It's pretending. It's not real. Let kids be kids for as long as possible and let them stay innocent within the confines of the home. As long as an adult isn't involved (save for parents and very close family where kissing and hugging is concerned) then there really shouldn't be a problem. When children approach puberty they themselves will stop as they become more self conscious.

WellitsAllGoneNow Sat 03-May-14 01:18:58

Boomerwang I wish DH could be so sure that it's never 'real' but unfortunately his own childhood has shown him otherwise - no adults involved.

Ah I used to play 'kissy cats' with the boys at school when I was this age. Never any harm in it or anything.

I would defo speak to your DP, how do you think he'll feel when your children start having partners, or will this not bother him?

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 03-May-14 02:14:46

When my daughter was five, she'd come home from school talking about her "boyfriend" so one day I asked her what made him her boyfriend - "He's my friend, and he's a boy." Perfect five-year-old logic.
I think that, in most cases, even when children use 'grown-up' words or behaviour they don't understand them in the same way.

turgiday Sat 03-May-14 02:25:16

I don't think there is an issue with this at all.

But I also hate it when other adults encourage children to see an opposite sex friend as a girlfriend or boyfriend.

It sounds like your DH would benefit from counselling. Having children often brings things up again for adults who have been sexually abused.

Very odd assertion that parents of boys won't get what they get up to confused.

I am already teaching my boys about respecting personal space and "no means no" etc and as they get older this will be reinforced constantly. I don't want my sons treating their girl friends with anything than the utmost respect.

Perpetuating the myth of the predatory male and the helpless female is ridiculous and does nothing to teach either gender how to behave appropriately.

Won't care what they get up to

GarlicMaybeNot Sat 03-May-14 02:50:45

Either I'm right out of the loop these days, or there are some odd posts here. Are these pictures not cute, then? confused

turgiday Sat 03-May-14 02:54:41

They are cute as long as neither kid was forced to kiss the other kid. But kids do kiss other kids. As long as they are both happy with that, I dont see the issue.

GarlicMaybeNot Sat 03-May-14 02:56:11

I'm very sorry DH's view has been contaminated by his own childhood experiences, Well. I feel a little worried, though, that his view may transfer to your children if they're asked to restrain their natural exuberance for fear of precocious sexuality. I've got nowhere near enough information here to comment any further. Some PPs have suggested avenues that would be appropriate to get a wider perspective on this. All the best.

GarlicMaybeNot Sat 03-May-14 02:56:40

Phew. Thanks, Turgid.

christinarossetti Sat 03-May-14 03:13:45

OP, if your dh grew up in a home where older children were enacting sexual behaviour learnt from adults with younger children (or doing this with each other within earshot or sight of younger children), I would say there was an element of abuse.

Understandably, this is colouring his perspective. I don't know if he's had any formal help with this, but it might be an idea if he's interesting to help him sort out his feelings about his own childhood and current family situation.

Fwiw, your take on things sounds very grounded.

Raskova Sat 03-May-14 09:24:08

Garlic, these pics are very cute and I have lots of her with her 'best friend'.

What I don't like is that she's kissing loads of boys on the lips and their parents are talking about them being her boyfriend. It's ok if one or two but all of them...

DD is extremely cuddly. I love it and would never discourage it. I just think about the she this becomes inappropriate. I mean if she was 16 and kissing all these boys... shock

QTPie Sat 03-May-14 09:42:58

Kissing, cuddling and affection are not bad - in fact they are lovely - but it is about respect for others (respecting that they don't want it and respecting what is not appropriate) and about self respect (being clear when you don't want it and what is not appropriate). Otherwise let children be children and explore affection and relationships with your support.

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